Herbert Nehrlich

Rookie (04 October 1943 / Germany)

The Missionary - Poem by Herbert Nehrlich

I met a missionary the other day.
He floated into the reception,
with an invisible entourage
of holiness and altruistic pride.

Wrapped in a thousand dollar suit
he handed each of us a form
that read 'My Offerings', in bold,
and gave a choice of 100 or more.

He talked about the poverty,
the illness and much death
that had engulfed the lot
of all African states.

And how we all must give,
reach deep into our pockets
to prevent the pestilence
from Hell to ruin God's work.

'Don't let His children perish,
reach deep inside my son',
he said with cultured voice,
while showing pearly whites

and breathing soothing nothings
of urgency at me.
No time to waste it seems,
consulting his Longines

'I must be off now, truly,
but cannot leave without your gift,
the poor are waiting for you
who is inspired by his God.'

We're looking for a final cure
to end all poverty in Africa',
these words, articulated
with urgency, fortissimo

brought back the memory
of smiling ladies, blue-haired
and happily accepting
all coins and notes from all.

Cures for all ills and sins,
injustice and mean spirits
would make the world into
a place to please our God.

I told him then and there
that cures for death and illness
will not be found by those
whose love is on the money.

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, August 2, 2005

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